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Ford thinks Bluetooth LE will keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from cars

A fortunate note that came from the pandemic is that more folks found cycling. In the initial 90 days of 2021, American consumer shelling out for bikes and cycling accessories increased by 34 percent year on year to $8.2 billion. However, the pandemic also saw more die and suffer injuries while biking. Based on the National Safety Council, 1,260 cyclists were killed in 2020, a 16 percent increase from 2019.

Its an issue that Ford thinks technology can address. On Monday, the automaker announced its dealing with Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile and Tome Software to explore what sort of smartphone app could warn drivers of pedestrians and cyclists they could not see. As someone sharing the street with an automobile, you’ll install the business’s software on your own phone. By using Bluetooth Low Energy, vehicles with Fords Sync infotainment system would see you as beacons. If the automobile then determines theres the prospect of a crash, it’ll warn the driver using audiovisual cues.

In accordance with Ford, its approach includes a few advantages. One is that Bluetooth LE ‘s almost ubiquitous. The technology has been portion of the Bluetooth protocol since 2009, meaning every modern smartphone has usage of it. In the event that you own a Ford vehicle, you wont have to bring your vehicle to a dealership for a hardware upgrade because the Sync system features Bluetooth compatibility. Another benefit of using Bluetooth LE is your car wont have to see pedestrians and cyclists before it could warn you. Ford and T-Mobile may also be focusing on a version of the app that uses 5G rather than Bluetooth LE.

Used, the companys approach is similar to the COVID exposure notification apps some countries and states deployed at the start of the pandemic. Because you can recall, those also used Bluetooth LE. However, despite backing from Apple and Google, these were never effective because of low usage. In Canada, for example, the federal COVID Alert app was only downloaded 6.9 million times and logged 63,117 positive tests. Put another way, nowhere near enough Canadians downloaded the program to create it a highly effective contact tracing tool. Ford’s app will probably experience a few of the same issues.

Being an avid cyclist, I cant let you know just how many people Ive seen riding their bikes during the night lacking any LED light to create themselves noticeable to traffic. However, statistics suggest motorists have already been driving more aggressively recently, leading to these upsurge in cyclist deaths along with vehicle crashes. Any type of intervention will be welcome, but Ford’s app isn’t apt to be a meaningful solution if it ever involves market. As the Bluetooth LE treatment for COVID had only 1 uphill climb, apps like Ford’s have two: adoption by cyclists and adoption by automakers.

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